Periodontal disease can have serious consequences on both your oral and physical health, that's why our Whitehorse dental team is sharing tips on how you can help prevent it.
What is periodontitis (gum disease)?
Periodontitis (gum disease) is a progressive condition that invades your gums over a period of time. Because it's usually painless in its earlier stages known as "gingivitis", it can easily evolve into a more advanced stage before you notice any symptoms or problems.
Plaque builds on your teeth and gum line, it hardens into a rough, porous deposit called calculus or tartar. Pockets develop between the irritated gums and teeth, bacteria also collects here. This could lead to other health problems such as cardiovascular disease. Once the plaque hardens, only your dentist can remove it.
In its advanced stages, periodontitis can cause loss of bone structure and deterioration of gums, this could even eventually lead to tooth loss.
That’s why rigorous daily hygiene routines (brushing and flossing) and attending regular dental hygiene appointments is essential for prevention and maintaining your oral health.
How to prevent periodontitis
There is also a handful of less obvious tips that could assist you in avoiding gum disease or reduce your risk of getting it. You might want to:
Take inventory of your medications. Certain medications can contribute to and aggravate gum disease, including antidepressants, heart medicines, and oral contraceptives.
Increase your consumption of vitamins A and C, they are part of a healthy diet that can help prevent periodontitis. Conversely, cut sugary and starchy foods, that allow plaque to build.
Have dental issues treated quickly. Correct dental problems or oral health issues such as teeth grinding, misaligned or crowded teeth. It can be challenging to properly clean teeth that aren’t properly spaced, providing room for plaque to grow and thrive.
Gently massage your gums. Along with brushing and flossing regularly (at least two times a day for two minutes for brushing, and once daily for thorough flossing), show your gums some love by gently massaging them, this can increase blood flow to the tissue.
Use fluoride toothpaste. It's a key ingredient that removes the buildup of plaque bacteria along the gum line without irritating gums.
Quit smoking. Smoking isn't just strongly associated with the onset of gum disease, it makes it more difficult for your gums to heal once they’re damaged, as smoking weakens the immune system.
Know your risks. Whether genetics, diet, age, smoking or other factors make you more susceptible to periodontitis, knowledge is power when it comes to reducing your risk and staying healthy.
Bonus: Ask your dentist about periodontal disease treatment. The earlier your dentist can detect periodontitis (if you do get it), the better. That's because it's easier to treat gum disease in its earlier stages than when it has advanced to the point that you start to lose teeth or jaw bone tissue. Depending on how far the disease has progressed and its severity, there are surgical and non-surgical options for treatment.
Regular oral hygiene - and reducing your personal risk factors - will go a long way in the fight to prevent gum disease. Our gums are as important as our teeth when it comes to our oral health, so it’s important not to neglect them.